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WTG: Our Best Couples Advice

WTG: Our Best Couples Advice

What’s up, friend! I’m so excited to share this Sisters + Friends episode with you! This one features some of mine and Christian’s best friends, Freddie and Parker Amos. I’m sure you already know Freddie, as she’s been on the podcast and is our counselor at Live Original. But her husband Parker joins us in this conversation as well and it is so great! 

We talked all things relationships, marriage, friendship and more. Christian and I kicked off the conversation by addressing a little tiff we had earlier that morning. Long story short, it led me to my first piece of marriage advice: Do not start on the defense. Remember you are on the same team working toward the same goal.

I then asked if Freddie or Parker had any relationship advice to give from any of there communication flops. Freddie answered by saying it varies for her and Parker. She said that for her, she has to assume that Parker is going to respond while having her best interest at heart rather than assume the worst in her. She also has to remember that it’s not just about her when they’re trying to resolve something. It’s about their marriage and also what will be best for Parker rather than assuming she knows what’s best. 

It truly is so easy to assume what is best instead of bringing it up. It’s also true that we often do wait to address an issue and I have found that the longer you wait, the more the problem multiplies. This could all be resolved by taking time to address the problem even though it might not be fun. 

We then began to tell the story of how we all met and became friends. Christian and Parker were kind of the OG’s. Without their friendship, Freddie and Parker wouldn’t even live in Louisiana. Parker said the first time he remembers meeting Christian, they were in high school. Parker lived in Auburn at the time and Christian was still living in Florida. They met at a rush event for a fraternity that they were both considering rushing at the time. He knew Christian as the “cool surfer dude from Florida.” This was so funny to me because when I met Christian, I thought he looked like a hot lifeguard haha. 

Christian chimed in and said it took a few months for Parker and him to become good friends because he was still in his crazy phase and Parker was not. But they ultimately became friends through church. They developed such a deep friendship, and I always say that Christian and I probably wouldn’t have started dating without Parker. I asked Christian to take us back to the conversations he had with Parker leading up to when he began pursuing me. 

This is a great example because often when people start pursuing someone, they keep quiet about it or it’s not actually much of a pursuit at all. It gets isolating and bad. But Christian had his friends as a part of mine and his relationship before we were even in one. 

Christian mentioned that he typically is an indecisive person. So he needed people in his life to speak into this relationship. He and Parker talked through what mine and Christian’s relationship would look like, how Christian would lead, etc. Parker gave Christian plenty of dating advice during this time, and eventually, it became Parker’s turn. He began dating Freddie!

Parker began sharing about the beginning of his and Freddie’s relationship and what that looked like. They met during their freshman year of college at an event called the Oaks Retreat at Auburn. Parker said that when they met, he remembered her by her unique name and her super cool lifted jeep. He quickly found out she had a boyfriend, so he kept his distance. But eventually, when they broke up, she became pretty vocal about the interest she had in Parker. Everyone was so excited when Freddie and Parker started dating. It’s important to note though, that once Freddie broke up with her ex boyfriend, she and Parker didn’t immediately start dating. They took some time and space before jumping into another relationship. It’s also important to be intentional about not bringing baggage from past relationships into a relationship with the person you’re going to marry. Not that some of that won’t come in somehow or need to be addressed, but it is important to still take that time and space before jumping into a new relationship. What I saw with myself is that I kept repeating the same cycles in my relationships. The reason I didn’t fall into the same situation with Christian is because, for one, he led better than anyone else I’d dated. And also, the Lord had truly prepped my heart after my last breakup by reminding me to just slow down. 

Freddie went on to share how cool it was that when she met Parker, her heart desired both Parker and time to herself. The Lord was so kind to grant her both. He allotted her the time she needed outside of a relationship, and at the right time, began her relationship with Parker. Parker mentioned how in college, everyone is seemingly trying to find the right person instead of being the right person. If we would just focus on being the right person God’s called us to be instead of looking for that person first, it would all work out much better. He sees their story as a great example of God displaying this concept. 

I would say this to people as a practical piece of advice: Listen to the sermons and podcasts on dating. Read the books on dating. Do all the things. I did this before I met Christian, and it truly got my heart posture right. I think it’s great to prep for the relationship way before you ever get into the relationship. I believe this shows God that while you are surrendered to His plan for your life, you’re also preparing for what He has for you. 

Another topic I wanted to address was community. We’ve talked about community in dating, singleness, and other seasons, but I wanted to talk about community in marriage. Often, when people get married, they begin to isolate themselves, which is a very dangerous place to be because you definitely need couple friends in that season. I remember at Freddie and Parker’s rehearsal dinner, the amount of friends who stood up and spoke so much life over them and blessed them was such a beautiful thing. Many of those same friends are still walking through life with them. For Christian and me too, all the people who spoke life over us and encouraged us are still walking through life with us. It’s so important to hang on to those relationships. 

So, I asked Freddie and Parker what it looks like for them to be in community in marriage. Parker talked about how they both prioritize each other having individual friendships too. For example, Parker having a friend like Christian to encourage him and hold him accountable will allow Parker to be a better husband for Freddie. When he is in community, he is healthy as a husband. He mentioned the importance of prioritizing this, because isolation leads you to believe that you are the only one walking through a situation. Community will help you pick up on the things that might seem a little off in your relationships. They’ll call you out and hold you accountable, even when you aren’t willing to be honest about what’s going on in your life. 

Also, when you’re dating someone, you don’t want to say anything negative about that person and lead your friends to think poorly of them. Even though you might love your person, we’ve gotta be real … your friends can turn on a dime, am I right? They can think your person is the best one minute and the worst the next. So, when you’re married, it’s important that you don’t throw your spouse under the bus or talk bad about them. But instead, bring your friends in to speak life into your relationship. At that point in your life, you should have friends that trust and love both you and your person enough, to where if you say one thing, they won’t automatically think of you as a bad person who talks negatively about their person. They’ll actually be more concerned about how to fix the problem at hand in the best way. 

Christian then reiterated the idea that you can be in community, but not actually be open and transparent. For example, that same morning, Christian and I had a little argument, and we told Freddie and Parker about it. As it turned out, they had actually had an argument of their own that morning too. They could’ve kept it to themselves when we were sharing about ours, but they didn’t. They let us in to what they were walking through. And that is what true community should look like. Your struggles actually help each other. 

Christian and I used to get really bummed about not having community with other couples. In fact, we would get our feelings hurt when we weren’t invited to other people’s small groups. For those looking for community and feeling like they just can’t find the right group, I would encourage you to start your own! Christian and I recently started a Wednesday night Bible study at our house that has been so fruitful. Sometimes we have to look at the things we’re complaining about and think, “Actually, can I fix that problem?” This was certainly a situation that Christian and I could fix.

Next, I addressed a big topic in relationships: comparison. This is so important to talk about because it is so prevalent. The minute you get discontent with who you’re with because you compare them to another person, it will mess up your entire relationship. There have even been times in mine and Christian’s relationship when this topic surfaced. When we had Honey, I remember saying things like, “Oh, other people’s husbands are so helpful.” Looking back, I was comparing Christian, in a sense, to how helpful other husbands were, even though I would never want to be married to any of those people. I love Christian and I’m so attracted to him. Even more than just that, I love everything that he is and how he serves our family. But because I compared him to someone else’s husband based on one thing, all of a sudden I started getting mad at him for little things that he wasn’t doing. I’ve just seen the potential for this topic in our marriage to be such a destructive thing. It wasn’t that I was comparing him in a physical appearance, but I was comparing him in terms of helpfulness. Typically, when we think of comparison in relationships, we think of females comparing themselves to others. And while that does lead to discontentment in who we are, we don’t think about comparison affecting an entire relationship, especially in a marriage. 

Freddie chimed in by mentioning how important it is to avoid comparison in relationships. Instead of allowing ourselves to make excuses, we should remind ourselves, “Actually, my relationship is so important to me and I’m going to prevent myself from letting my eyes wander.” Like Freddie said, things don’t change when you’re even in a serious relationship with the person you do love. You still have to protect yourself in the same ways. 

Christian and I had just been listening to Ben Stuart’s message on David and Bathsheba, which I highly recommend if you’ve never heard it before. One thing Ben talks about is the fact that God gave us curiosity. But he reminded us to make sure we’re using our curiosity in healthy and beautiful ways because it leads to innovation. He said that if we are lazy with our curiosity, it can lead to sin. 

When Christian and I are watching a show and it looks like things might be about to get inappropriate, Christian gets on his phone and won’t watch whatever is happening on the screen. I appreciate this so much because it shows that Christian isn’t concerned with being curious about the screen. But instead, he only has eyes for me. I think many people believe that we don’t have control in an instance like that. And we do, but we have to fight for it. 

At Christian and Parker’s Bible study in Auburn, week after week, guys would talk about how they were trying to quit porn. One week, they finally put their foot down and asked the question, “Are we actually going to quit?” So, I asked the guys what that looks like for a man who admits he struggles with porn to actually take hold of something like that? Christian said that a lot of it starts by finding the common denominator. For someone, it could be late at night before bed, making the effort to not be on their phone. For someone else, it might be not taking their phone when they go to the bathroom. Covenant eyes is also a good idea. It’s a locked down browser that only allows you to search certain things. You have to be aware of which situations you struggle with the most. You have to go much further than just “Yes, I struggle with it.” You have to ask yourself, “Why am I struggling with it?” and “What situations do I let myself go there?” 

Parker made the point that your fight with lust does not end once you get married. If anything, it increases, because the enemy wants your eyes to be anywhere except your spouse, especially when you’re having conflict and things get hard. He said that with any sin, you have to ask yourself, “Is this better or is Jesus better?” It’s definitely a fight, but that’s why it’s vital to have people who can hold you accountable. 

Everyone talks about how everything changes when you get married, but we wanted to talk about some of the things that don’t change. When I was pregnant with Honey, everyone told me that my whole life was about to change. Well, there were actually a lot of things in mine and Christian’s lives that didn’t change once we had Honey. We’re still who we were before. We still have friends over. We still travel. So, that’s not necessarily always true that everything changes when you get married or have a baby. A lot changes, but not everything. I think some people have this idea that all their problems will change when they get married. Freddie mentioned that getting engaged, married, or having a baby will not solve your problems. Those things will actually challenge you a lot in your relationship. 

I asked Freddie and Parker to mention some things they thought might change when they got married, but that have actually stayed the same. Freddie began sharing about struggles, whether it be sin or body issues. Marriage does not come in and make all those things better. It actually makes them harder, because it’s no longer secret to you. Parker sees those struggles all the time. But you have the option to either stay in your sin, or change something. 

This led us to talk a bit more about the struggle of comparison. When my parents first got married, my dad used to get really jealous for my mom if other guys would look at her. A lot of people might have thought that he wouldn’t be jealous anymore once she had a ring on her finger. But when you have a deep lie inside of you, a ring doesn’t just change that. It changes when you decide to let the Lord heal that in your own heart. If you think anything other than God is going to heal a sin in your life, it’s not going to happen. Only God can take a sin and redeem you. 

Parker said that when he got married to Freddie, he didn’t think he’d have time to do all the fun things he loves. But he still gets to hunt, fish, have time for music and all the things. It’s even better now because he gets to share all those things with Freddie. He said it’s important to find someone who’s going to encourage you in the things you love, as that’s what Freddie does for him. 

Marriage is a serious thing. It takes intentionality and God being at the center of it. Then you will be able to be the best version of yourself for your spouse. It’s such a beautiful and fun thing, doing life with your best friend. For a culture that doesn’t value marriage, it’s very sad to see. Marriage is one of the greatest gifts that God has given us, as well as having children. A lot of people think that when you have kids, your life is over. But in some ways I think that our life began once we had Honey. And in so many ways it made Christian and me who we are. 

These things that God designed and gave us in life, like marriage and family, are such beautiful things and the enemy will 100% be after your heart in them. But if you just follow the Lord’s leading on those things and are intentional about following His voice, you will find so much fruit in it all. At the same time, if you’re single and just don’t desire that yet, rest in the place God has you. God has you there for a reason. Singleness is a beautiful thing too. Paul actually said it’s better that you stay single. There’s beauty in all things that God creates. Being able to be content where you’re at brings so much fruit and blessing.

If you want to hear our full conversation, be sure to listen HERE!

Our Best Relationship Advice

Our Best Relationship Advice

Today’s a GOOD day on the blog, because I get to share a WTG episode I recorded with one of my favorite people – my husband! Christian and I get to answer some questions about relationships, faith, life, and all the things. I’m so excited to share this one with you! Let’s dive in to the DM’s!

Question 1: What were some things you did intentionally while you were waiting for each other?

There are tons of people out there waiting for their person and wondering what to do in the process. So, I thought Christian would be the perfect person to answer this one since he has great advice on the topic. Christian said prayer and building a community of guys around him were the two key elements in his season of waiting. In the season before he and I started dating, he was very intentional about spending alone time with God, and having bible study groups and prayer nights. He truly believes that time in his life prepared him for our relationship.

This same idea applies to girls as well. Find good Godly community with other girls who are seeking the same purpose! During that season in Christian’s life, he wasn’t just preparing himself for our relationship. He was becoming the man he wanted to be. He was focusing on the Lord and himself which is so important. You have to have a moment in your life when you’re focusing on who God is and who you are so that when you go into a relationship, you’re a whole person.

I love what I heard said once. They said that whenever two people become one, it’s not fifty-fifty. It’s two becoming one. And so many only have fifty percent to give because they were focusing on other things the whole time and never took the time to know yourself. But whenever both people truly know themselves and are rooted in who God is, two people becoming one make such a strong one.

Question 2: What would you tell your younger self who felt like they would never find the right person for them?

I think I would tell my younger self to just rest and wait. You don’t have to try to figure out who your person is. It’s just going to happen. When you say you have to “find love,” you’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself because if you have to find something, then you have to go searching for it. If I’d tried to “find” Christian, I genuinely don’t know if I would’ve found him because I wouldn’t have been looking where he was. I never would’ve thought my husband would be in Seaside, FL, the day I happened to be there on vacation with my friends. I’m so grateful we found each other, but the fact is that we didn’t have to search.

You just have to show up each day with a willing spirit, present yourself in such a way that you’re ready to meet your person, and be in relationship with someone. And when you show up each day like that, you’re positioning yourself in the place to be able to meet your person. I think God makes that intentionally happen. So, I don’t think we have to find our person. I believe God connects your steps to each other.

Question 3: What have you been learning from God recently?

Christian said a lot of times when he thinks about God, he thinks “Father,” “Redeemer,” all these amazing qualities of God. But it recently hit him that God is his Creator. When he prays, it’s to the One who physically created him. All his attributes were created by God. I remember looking out at the ocean on Christian’s and my honeymoon and thinking, “Wow. The God who created the ocean created me.”

And the crazy thing is that when God made the ocean, the stars, and moon, He said it was good. When we look at those things, we think they’re amazing. And then He made us, He said it was good. But when He made man and woman come together, He said it was very good. That is so humbling to think about. And when you look at God as the One who created you, you begin to feel much more confident and loved. It also pushes you to want to further that relationship.

Question 4: Does God speak to you in dreams?

My answer is yes. I would love to share one of these instances with you! Before I tell this story, I want to say that if you’ve never had a dream from the Lord before, that is not a bad thing. That does not mean God’s withholding something from you. There are incredibly spiritual people who have never felt like they had a dream from the Lord. I will say, though, it is something to pray for. I used to hear about this girl who had God dreams and I wanted them so badly. So, I started praying for them and they started happening. It’s not like I have one every night. I probably have one once every three years. The way I can tell that it’s a God dream is when there is a moment in the dream when I feel the Lord speak.

Years ago, my team and I really wanted to go to a conference. At this point, we were hosting tours and gatherings, and decided we wanted to get poured into. Well, we saw the Global Leadership Conference was being hosted in London. So, we bought our tickets as regular attendees. A couple months before we bought our tickets, I had a dream that I was in a green room, which is the room the speakers gather in before an event. In the dream, I was looking at a map of places in the world where revival had broken out in. These places were colored in. Then, Pastor Michael Todd, who I’d never met at that time, walked in the room and looked at the map and said, “This is a divine holy moment.” Right after that, we started singing the song “Set a Fire” and all got down on our knees because the presence of God felt so heavy. I woke up and wrote down the dream.

Months later, the people from the Global Leadership Conference see my name in the sign-up list and reached out asking me to do a Q&A. This was all in March. So, I get on this call with these pastors from London and Nicky and Pippa Gumbel start speaking to me. They said, “I don’t know if you know it but this is our GLOBAL Leadership Conference. So, we’ll have leaders from all over the world representing.” Then Pippa said, “That Monday night of the conference, you’ll be speaking, along with Pastor Mike Todd.” As soon as she said that, I knew it sounded familiar. Like I had lived it before. I went back to November in my book with my dreams, and read out loud to them what it said. They had chills.

Fast forward to May. We’re in the green room and they bring in a map and say, “If this is the dream you had, we’re going to pray into it.” So, we prayed over this dream that revival would happen all around the world. After Pastor Mike and I had preached, Nicky asked me to come back up and pray for an anointing on my generation like never before. The presence of God was so thick in the room and all of a sudden, Mike Todd starts singing “Set a Fire” and everyone is on their knees praising God. This was definitely one of the craziest experiences of my life, and it was undeniably because of the Lord. But when you look at the God of the Bible, God spoke in dreams all the time. So, why wouldn’t He speak to us in dreams?

Isaiah 26:9 says, “My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness.”

It’s basically this prayer of longing to see God. Before I go to bed at night, I tell God that my spirit longs to see Him that night. I encourage you to keep a prayer journal by your bed and always write things down if you feel the Lord speaking, whether it be in a dream or any other time.

However, not every dream means something. Both Christian and I have crazy dreams that don’t necessarily mean anything. For instance, you might dream about your biggest fear, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to come true. I dream about losing Christian, but that doesn’t mean I actually will. I have to remind myself not to panic. I don’t think God speaks in fear. We need to have the wisdom to discern what is significant and what’s not.

Question 5: If I want to break a bad habit, where do I start and how do I do that practically?

I used to have the bad habit of being sensitive. My mom used to call me “Sensitive Sally” because it was so extreme. This habit drove me crazy. If someone looked at me wrong or said the wrong thing to me, I would be convinced that they didn’t like me. And I would get so upset about it. I feel like I grew out of that by making the conscious decision to grow thicker skin. Thank God I broke that habit because if I heard all the opinions I get from people now and was still as sensitive as I used to be, it would be terrible.

Let me say this to the person who is sensitive or anxious, you actually can control you. At the end of the day, you are the only person who can choose to change you. So, if there’s something about you that bothers you, fix it. Don’t stay in it. Ask God to help you in doing so.

As far as sinful habits go, Christian had a great take on handling them. He said that at some point, you have to lean into your conviction. And if you’re truly a follower of Christ, you should have conviction.

Hebrews 10:26 says, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left.”

Christian went on to say that though we still struggle with things and battle sin, there’s a difference between habitually sinning and turning from sin. However, if we do sin, we have one as an advocate for us.

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” (1 John 2:1)

I asked Christian to address one of the biggest struggles in our generation: pornography. I know his friend group had an incredible breakthrough from this and I wanted him to share. He started by talking about his friend group in college. Week after week, we would ask for prayer over our struggle with pornography and lust. Finally, after a few months, we all asked, “What are we actually going to do about any of this?” We took the initiative to actually do something about it. We began to hold each other accountable and slowly watched each other’s struggles deteriorate. If you struggle with something and don’t make a change, you can get comfortable in it. But the moment you decide to make a change and repent, everything shifts.

For people listening, I think there’s a couple takeaways from Christian’s experience:

  1. They held each other accountable as a group. They didn’t try to do it alone.
  2. They actually did things to help them stop. It wasn’t just a weekly check-in. They were intentional about holding each other accountable. And they hung out so much as a group.

If you’re walking through something right now that is a sinful habit, I encourage you to get with someone dealing with the same thing and decide today that it will no longer be a struggle. Yes, it is going to try to fight, but y’all will be fighting back. That doesn’t mean that you won’t mess up every now and then, but it is saying that you’re not going to let it own your life. Practice the things you have to put in to play to make sure it goes away. Because when you are fighting a giant like that, you have to know how to fight back.

I pray all this advice speaks to you and meets you where you’re at, friend! xoxo, Sadie

Active Love

Active Love

What does it mean to do something actively? In my research I found that it can be described as doing something deliberately and vigorously. God has shown us that He loves us deliberately and vigorously. Therefore, God actively loves us, and calls us to actively love others.

In the Bible we can see God’s deliberate love for us in the intentionality of Him sending His Son to die for us. This was not something that just kind of happened, rather God had designed an intricate beautiful plan to reconcile His creation back to His heart. He created us and loves us, and in our flesh we chose sin, so He had to bridge the gap that was in between us and Him. When Christ came and fulfilled every prophecy, lived a perfect holy life, and took the punishment for our sin on the cross he became a bridge over the gap that sin created. Our acceptance of Him allows us to come back to God despite our sin. This is the gospel, and this is the grandest gesture of active love imaginable. So how does this impact our daily lives and help us to actively love? We follow His example. You can share the gospel with someone every day, sometimes without saying a word. Your life is a reflection of the gospel to everyone you encounter. 

Now this can be difficult because we typically don’t encounter opportunities to lay down our lives for our friends and family literally, but there are ways that we can deliberately love them similarly to how God deliberately loved us. Practically, because I am a college student, this may look different in your life than in mine. However, I know that some people who read this may be looking for realistic ways to love their friends in college so here are some of the ways that I attempt to exercise this active love that God has shown me.

  • Sticker Notes: Now this may sound silly, but my friends and I all invested in stickers and began writing little notes to each other with fun stickers that reminded us of each other. Each note was like a token of intentionality. After I wrote to my friends, I had so many extra stickers so I thought why limit myself to just my close friends, why not give these to everyone? So I started writing them to a lot of people, even people I had barely talked to, and it created opportunities for me to become better friends with them, and hopefully make their day more encouraging. 
  • Turn Down Service: This works the best if you have roommates. Personally I live in a house with a lot of girls, so when people are coming home late I try to clean their room and un-make their bed so it is ready for them to sleep in when they get home. The same goes for if they get up early for something, I will make their bed so when they get back they don’t have to. It’s very simple, but when my friends do it for me I feel very loved and cared for. Reducing another person’s to-do list, even by one thing, is impactful. 
  • Matching Excitement: This is more of a state of mind, but I think one of the most damaging things that someone can do in a relationship is “yuck someone’s yum”. What I mean by this is that, I try to never be the person that makes anyone feel bad or lame for something they are passionate about. Instead, my friends and I typically attempt to match that excitement with each other. For example, two of my best friends are very musical and love to play guitar and piano, and instead of not engaging when they talk about it or play, I found my old guitar and asked them to teach me. Now we all play together all the time, because instead of putting them down I tried to build them up and asked them to help me. People love an excuse to talk about what they are passionate about, so matching others’ excitement shows them that you care and want to hear about what things have captured their heart. Not only that, but then if I am given the chance to talk about what I am passionate about, I have an opportunity to tell them about my faith.

In addition to God loving us deliberately, He loves us vigorously, powerfully, eagerly, and enthusiastically. The best example I can think of where we see this in the Bible is in the sending of Jesus to earth. We got to see how He eagerly loved the people around Him in His everyday life. In John 4, the story of the Samaritan woman at the well is told. At this time women and Samaritans were outcasts already, on top of the fact that this woman was at the well around noon (a time that no one went to draw water because of the heat) which meant that she was avoiding other women in her own town, making her an outcast of the outcasts. Yet, Jesus made the decision to take a harder trip to his destination to ensure that He would meet this woman at the well. He was eager to love her, eager to quench her spiritual thirst with living water, eager to remind her that she can’t earn the love of God but it is freely given to her despite what she has done. She was the first person that He told that He was the Messiah. What a picture of enthusiastic and vigorous love.

God wants us to love people this way, so that we can experience giving active love to others the same way that He gives it to us. Life is so much fuller when you go all out in love. What is the benefit of censored love except safety, and is it better to be safe or to experience the fullness of love which includes vulnerability? For example, my friends and I decided to do secret santa for Christmas this year, but with a twist. We called it surprise Christmas and we started this in August. As months went on we accumulated little trinkets and gifts for the person we had drawn, and then we decided on which week to give the presents to each other. Instead of exchanging gifts all at the same time, we were allowed to choose any time, day or night, to surprise our person with their gift. I can’t explain how much this leveled up the gift giving experience, and it showcased everyone’s excitement for each other. It was an idea that made us all extremely more excited to give than to receive, and it propelled us to love each other better because for five months we were listening intently to what the other person needed. It was one of the best experiences of eager and enthusiastic love I have ever had.

Active love is not an easy calling, but it is who Christ is. If I am attempting to use my life to make Christ more known, then active love is something I want to be engaging in daily. With that being said, I hope you feel challenged and encouraged with the idea of actively loving the people God has put in your life. And as a reminder you yourself are actively, eagerly, deliberately, and intentionally loved by the creator of the universe. He calls us heirs to His kingdom, and we don’t have to do anything but accept his love in the form of Christ! Now let’s go love people! 

Macy is a college student who is involved in greek life and Doulos which is a greek life ministry. She is also a spicy uno enthusiast, a lover of marine life and chocolate covered gummy bears, and a friend.

Confidence In College: Dating

Confidence In College: Dating

da·ting (verb)

DEFINITION: The act of being in a relationship that brings out the best version of you while also learning selflessness, humility, and love.

Your girl Sadie Rob sharing here. The two biggest aspects to entering into a relationship is knowing when you are ready to date and being able to identify when it is the right relationship.

How do you know when you are ready to date?

This answer is coming from a humble place, because had I known this when I was 16, I would have saved people and myself from a lot of heartache. Looking back, I am truly sad to say that out of my brokenness, I would get into relationships because I “needed” something. Of course, at the time, I didn’t realize my impure motives. I never intentionally thought, going into a relationship, that I was trying to “get something” out of anyone, but I can see now that I was searching for something.

I needed self-confidence, reassurance, affirmation, healing, someone to make me feel less lonely, someone to redeem the past. I went into every relationship needing something that only Jesus could give me. When it ended it left me feeling emptier than when I started. I think you are ready to date when you find contentment in Christ and don’t actually “need anything from anyone.” You have to realize that they cannot and will not give you what only Jesus can give you.

How do you know when it is the right relationship?

First off, I want to touch on how you can know you’re in a WRONG relationship. One good clue is to look at who you have become since dating that person. If you have lost your personality, your peace, your joy, your confidence, your purity and the desires inside of you, then it’s probably time to lose the relationship and find yourself again in Christ. The wrong relationship will produce the wrong fruit. If you have to change who you are, it’s not the right relationship.

The right relationship will produce the right fruit in you and through you. It will bless you, not take from you. 

Ask yourself questions like: “Since the beginning of this relationship, have I seen the fruit of Jesus in my life?” No one is going to be perfect, so don’t look for perfect, but you can be and should be HEALTHY!

The other thing is when you realize the one you are dating is really “the one”, it won’t be some magical moment with bells ringing and pixie dust falling from the sky and seven shooting stars flashing across the sky like a July 4th celebration. You won’t get a “sign” written by the universe that he is the one. I think so many times we get caught up in looking for a sign.

The looking causes us to miss the actual magic of how God brings two people together. How he creates one to complete the other. Stop looking for crazy signs around you and look in front of you. That way you can see that what you prayed for is standing right there. Look inside of you and realize who you have become by the power and blessing of partnering with who God has created.

If you happen to find this right relationship in college, what a blessing! If not, God is preparing you for something that only a season of singleness can bring about. Those years are sweet if you can have the eyes to see it through that lens. Don’t wish it away.

TRUTH: Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

How can you apply this scripture to your perspective of dating?1. What are you looking for in a dating relationship?

2. What could God be wanting to show you in your season of singleness or dating?

3. What are some ways you could start preparing for the person God has for you?

I hope this encourages you today, friend! If it did, be sure to check out the rest of the Confidence In College workshop here inside LO sister 🙂
Dependent On God

Dependent On God

Note from Team LO: We are SO excited to bring you this month’s post from our LO sister member, Stacie Dewitt! If you want to be a part of this incredible community, you can join today and get your first week FREE! Find out more about this online sisterhood HERE. And for more info about what LO sister is all about, visit our Instagram Page!

Now, enjoy today’s post from Stacie 🙂 

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Independence has been a battle cry and a point of pride for me for as long as I can remember. It has shaped who I thought I was and how I viewed my relationship with others. I thought because my dad was an alcoholic and absent from my life that I needed to be independent. Maybe you’ve had someone like that in your life. Because time and time again he or she wasn’t there when you needed them or better yet, when you wanted them, you made sure you would work to become someone who didn’t need anything from anyone. You believed you could be self-sufficient for physical needs, emotional needs and relational needs. You believed that you could take care of you! But the truth is that has turned out to be a false reality.  Turns out it’s a lie. As much as we’d like to believe that we’re “Miss independent, Miss self-sufficient…” the truth is, we’re not. As humans, we need a lot of things that, no matter how hard we try, we can’t provide all by ourselves.

We need air.

We need water.

We need nourishment.

We need love.

We need protection.

We need friendship.

We need purpose.

Over time and because of God’s grace, I have learned that I am not independent but instead, completely dependent. We were actually created to depend on the only one who actually is independent.

The amazing thing about God is that He is not human. He’s not even a super-human, He is wholly “other.” God does not need anything or anyone. He is completely self-sufficient. He is completely independent. He doesn’t need anything from creation because He created everything from nothing.

In Acts 17:24-28 Paul says it like this:

24 “The God who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 Nor is He served by human hands, as if He needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man He made every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation. 27 God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’”

Knowing that God is completely independent and needs nothing and no one gives us security and hope that He can’t and won’t be corrupted. God does not function out of necessity. He doesn’t need to do anything for the sake of survival, to fulfill a need or out of bondage to anyone. He has no outside influence which means he is free to be himself. The good news is God to his core is good. Being good and being free means he will do what is perfect and right and good all of the time.

Knowing that God needs nothing form us reveals how much He loves us. He does not need our love but He has given us love. He does not need our existence but He has breathed life into us. He does not need our work here on this earth but he has chosen to have us participate in His grand design. He does not need our worship but he has given us voice and song. He doesn’t need anything that we create but he has given us the capacity to think, design and build.

If God does not need us then why did He create us? Paul tells us that He has created each of us uniquely and purposefully in our time and place so that we would know Him. Isn’t it freeing to know that God does not need you and that the only reason you were created is that you would get to know Him? That is so freeing! Many of us carry the burden on our shoulders of “working” for God. We feel that we will disappoint Him if we don’t perform. We worry that we’re not fulfilling our purpose because we’re not doing whatever it is we feel we should be doing. The truth that Paul tells us here is that God created man simply to know Him. You were created to know God. So you can stop striving, working, looking for your purpose! Your purpose is to know God. You were created by a good God who only wants your heart.

He is so good that not only did He give us life, He gives us Himself.

Out of His mercy He’s given Himself to us. He’s given us His word so that we can know His character and the essence of who He is. He’s given us the Holy Spirit so that we can hear His call in our hearts. He has gifted us eternity with Him through the life, death and resurrection of our savior Jesus Christ. He is not an unknown god but instead, a God that can be known! Paul tells us that He is not far from you. He delights in you as His child. He loves you. He has chosen you. He created you so that you would know Him. He does not need you to be or do anything, He just wants a relationship with you so take a rest from the striving and just get to know your God.

You don’t need to be independent. What you actually need is to be completely dependent on the only one who fully knows you, the only one who is absolutely reliable and the only one who is always good because He is absolutely independent.

Attributes of God: LOVE

Attributes of God: LOVE

I was sitting on a plane at 4am on my way to Costa Rica for a mission trip when a song by Beyonce came on my Spotify. The words of this song unexpectedly hit me.

Hold up, they don’t love you like I love you
Slow down, they don’t love you like I love you
Back up, they don’t love you like I love you
Step down, they don’t love you like I love you

I got out my journal and wrote the lyrics down along with the line “From Beyonce. And also God.” I laugh thinking about it now but when I was sitting there two years ago, as I was coming out of a hard, growing season, I was struck by God’s love in a new way.

Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick, who can understand it? I, the Lord, search the heart and test the mind.”  In 2019, my first year out of college, I saw that play out in my heart. I knew God created me to love being with people, and I had seen how being in close community had changed my life. But my heart was deceitful and I so easily made people and relationships ultimate things. I wanted to be loved and to get married. Even though I felt grown up, I still wanted my dad to be proud of me. I wanted a peaceful relationship with my family. I watched my heart strive and work and compromise to try to get these things above anything else. But in those, my heart was actually craving a relationship with my Heavenly Father and Bridegroom. My soul craved love that I was not even able to comprehend the depths of.

Tim Keller wrote, “Jesus must become more beautiful to your imagination, more attractive to your heart, than your idol.  That is what will replace your counterfeit gods.  If you uproot the idol and fail to “plant” the love of Christ in its place, the idol will grow back.” (Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods, pp. 172-173)

So to here’s what I learned when I was trying to live my life for human love:

-I will feel insecure

Relationships change so much. If they are my compass, if they decide that I am okay, if I measure up, if I’m where I should be in life, if I have a certain status—I will be insecure. I’ll need others’ affirmation to prove something about myself. Even the best, safest, closest people in our lives believe lies and false narratives about us sometimes, say the wrong things, and have struggles that we can’t even see. I will be crushed if I am leaning against those people as my only support and source of truth.

-I cannot trust my heart

My emotions are helpful indicators of things that I’m feeling, but my heart is selfish and flawed and if I follow it, it will lead me down the wrong path. In my pride, my heart also wants to earn love because of something that I bring to the table that makes me worthy. But I don’t bring anything good besides the fact that He made me—I am not enough, and that’s okay. It is so freeing that I don’t have to do anything to have it all together—if I’m being obedient to my perfect Savior and using my life to glorify Him, I can’t go wrong. He has PLANS—Jeremiah 29:11. He has multiple plans—to give me a hope and a future. I don’t have to worry about how things should look in my life. Hard things will always be apart of life on earth. His plans will not look the way we think they should most of the time. But he is good and so worthy of being trusted.

-I don’t have control.

“For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.” (2 Chronicles 20:12)

I’m a three on the enneagram. I love setting goals and achieving them. But relationships aren’t like this. They aren’t boxes that you can check off if you work really hard. The Lord has to be the One to do it. In this season especially, relationships within my family consumed a lot of my heart and mind. I thought that if I said the right things, read my Bible, and prayed, certain harder areas would change in the ways that I thought they should change. I felt powerless when it wasn’t happening. But God had something so much better. It involved so much change in my life that only He could have set into place—when I had thought it would require change in the lives of the other people. All I needed to do that was to give Him my whole heart—trusting Him, talking to Him, reading about how He has done miraculous things in the past, knowing He will do it again, and asking Him to direct my steps.

And here is what I learned about God’s love.

-His love is personal 

He is not a distant or vague idea. His love is active in our lives if we are looking for it and talking to Him. For years, I didn’t understand how my deep desire for love could be found in someone I couldn’t even see in front of me. I didn’t think I could find a perfect, loving father in someone who I couldn’t sit across from. But He knows us so intimately and loves us more than we can ever imagine.

“The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a might hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage.” (Deuteronomy 7:7-8)

“There you saw how the LORD your God carried youas a father carries his sonall the way you went until you reached this place.” (Deuteronemy 1:31)

-His love is perfect

On that same plane ride, another song came on shuffle and again I wrote down the lyrics in my journal, on the page next to the Beyonce lyrics. This one was a worship song that I knew well, called “Pieces.”

Your love’s not fractured
It’s not a troubled mind
It isn’t anxious
It’s not the restless kind
Your love’s not passive
It’s never disengaged
It’s always present
It hangs on every word we say
Love keeps its promises
It keeps its word
It honors what’s sacred
‘Cause its vows are good
Your love’s not broken
It’s not insecure
Your love’s not selfish
Your love is pure

For years, a world full of broken, human love had convinced me over and over again that I wasn’t good enough. It had tried to tell me so many things about my identity. But all along, He was looking at me, standing with open arms, and speaking identity to me that was louder—louder than any human voice, even from those that I loved—just to show me that I am His. That His love is truer. That He gets the glory from beginning to end, not me or another flawed person.

-His love can be trusted. He the absolute BEST in store for me. He’s not holding out on me. 

God is the BEST storywriter. He totally did not have to answer this prayer for me but in April I got married to the love of my life—a man I hadn’t met yet when I had journaled these things in 2019. 1 Samuel 12:15 says, “Now therefore, stand still and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes. And you shall know and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking for yourselves a king.” Jesus is king. He stands by us. He fights for us. He is a better king than any relationships we can try to use as stand-ins. “Do not turn away after useless idols. … They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless.” (1 Samuel 12:21)

Lauren Ruark is the artist and designer behind Lauren Fuhr Design Co. She loves ministry and making life more beautiful through art and design. She leads student ministry with Highland Park KLIFE, works full time as a digital designer for Fossil, and at night and on the weekends she creates paintings and products that promote an effortless, artful, and beautiful lifestyle. She loves being outside and her years going to college in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains (go Rams!) inspire much of what she creates. Lauren sees the world differently because she sees art everywhere– in big windows and natural light, in decor and interior design, in landscapes and sunrises, laughs and life chats on the kitchen floor, linen bedspreads and neutral colors, and everything in between. She loves Jesus with everything she’s got and lives everyday to the fullest with her husband and their dog, Wilson.

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